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Bousquet Ski Area is preparing for reopening with a new chairlift and other upgrades.
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Bousquet is green at the moment but is expected to open for skiing in mid to late December.

Bousquet Readying to Welcome Skiers Under New Ownership

By Brittany PolitoiBerkshires Staff
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The lodge won't be utilized at present because of COVID-19 restrictions but Fresh Powder LLC was approved for a license transfer and for allowing serving outside. 
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Local investment group Mill Town Capital is making sure that Pittsfield's only ski area is open for businesses despite the pandemic. 
 
At Monday's Licensing Board meeting, attorney Michael McDonald represented the investment group, notifying the board that Bousquet is anticipating the slopes being ready by Dec. 18.
 
Mill Town has made several improvements on the ski area. A new triple chairlift is in the process of being installed along with new water lines and snow-making cannons, a renovated and modernized pump house across the street from the ski area that will make better quality snow, and new snow grooming equipment to enhance skier experience.
 
The focus is on the skiing experience since the novel coronavirus restricts indoor activities. Next year may see improvements in other areas.
 
Fresh Powder LLC was there for the transfer the annual all-alcohol, seven-day restaurant license from Tamarack Ski Corp., doing business as the Tamarack Room.
 
Fresh Powder is the operating entity of Blue Chair LLC, both Mill Town Capital-related entities that purchased the real estate and assets of Bousquet Ski Area back in June. 
 
This was a three-step application that required the transfer of the license from Tamarack, the approval of Kevin McMillan as the new manager on the license, and the change to the description of the premises.
 
McMillan has been a manager and general manager for Zoar Outdoor in Charlemont for the last 29 years and was brought on to manage Bousquet in August of this year.
 
"I am, like Mill Town Capital, committed to doing things right and my focus is on making sure that operationally we are strong and that we build a strong culture here," McMillan said. "I think that Bousquet has had a reputation of being a bar with a ski area, and our hope is to really shift that paradigm and have a ski area with a bar, so that is really my general focus on how we operate."
 
The board unanimously approved all three parts of the application.
 
Because of the pandemic, Mill Town was looking to extend the liquor license to the outdoor pavilion that stood next to the waterslide area, which has now been removed, and to the patio in front of the lodge.
 
CEO and Managing Director Timothy Burke explained that the plan is to have two points of service this season, one in the pavilion and a walk-up food and beverage area at the window where the old cafeteria stood.
 
They expect that they won't be able to utilize the lodge for the public in the foreseeable future.
 
When indoor dining is allowed, they want to use the lodge's upstairs banquet area as well so that they have more surface area to accommodate social distancing.
 
"In the event that something drastically changes and the governor's orders change, such that the indoors can be used, the anticipation would be that we would need to provide adequate space to allow people to socially distance, hence the addition of the upstairs area," McDonald said.
 
Chairman Thomas Campoli looked at all of the documents for the project and said it all goes back to the principle that shows Mill Town's commitment to the city of Pittsfield and to Berkshire County.
 
Mill Town has been making large investments in the housing and recreation sectors of Pittsfield, Bousquet being one of the initial investments.
 
"Most of the investment is focused on and continues to be focused on Pittsfield," McDonald said.
 
The investment group has made investments on North Street and is moving forward with the renovation of the former boarding house on Tyler Street into market-rate one- and two-bedroom apartments and is transforming the former Shedd's Plumbing across the street into a 16-unit apartment complex.
 
In other business, the board also approved an alteration of premises application from Raajipo Inc., doing business as A-Mart, which has been almost completely rebuilt after a devastating fire last year nearly burned the building to the ground. 
 
Attorney Matthew Porter represented A-Mart at the meeting. He said the footprint of the premises includes some expanded space where a barbershop used to be prior to the fire.
 
Porter explained that in the rebuild, A-Mart will not be renting out space to another entity and will utilize the extra space for storage and redemption.
 
The more than 8,000-square-foot main floor will be an open concept with much larger doors and an easier, safer flow that is more convenient for customers, he said. Porter also noted that the deli will be placed in the back of A-Mart, as it originally was.

Tags: license board,   alcohol license,   ski resort,   

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MassWildlife Asks Public Not to Feed 'GE Deer'

By Brittany PolitoiBerkshires Staff

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — If you have ever driven down New York Avenue and seen the deer grazing behind the fencing that encases General Electric's property, it is likely that you have been inclined to feed them.

Though this action is rooted in kindness, it is not healthy for the woodland friends and could be fatal, which is why MassWildlife has put up signs asking that residents do not throw food over the fences.

"Obviously, people see the deer in there and they probably think 'what are they going to eat? They're limited in there they're stuck in there.'  I will say, they're definitely not stuck in there," MassWildlife's wildlife biologist Nathan Buckhout said.

For decades, the deer have found an unlikely sanctuary in the former GE site that includes two landfills, Hill 78 and Building 71. Buckhout explained that they have been there for decades, spawning offspring and becoming completely self-sufficient within the fenced area.

"They're doing just fine," he said. "And they obviously are getting enough food and water, otherwise their population would be limited, they wouldn't be able to produce their offspring so there would be fewer fawns, and eventually they probably would have disappeared — but they haven't."

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